Thursday, June 30, 2011


Today my therapist, A, said: "You think you're empty."

We were talking about my fears/anxieties regarding social eating, body image insecurities, and basically presenting myself - my body, my personality, my hunger - to the world.  I was telling her that this new weight on my body feels so darn uncomfortable all the time that I am embarrassed to go out.

She said that it's about more than my weight.  That I feel like I don't have anything to offer, and I am afraid to engage sometimes because I think I'm "empty."

I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this statement, because I don't think I feel empty.  I feel trapped, obsessed, riddled with fears, endlessly anxious, insecure, angry sometimes, sad sometimes, almost happy sometimes.

My stomach certainly isn't empty.  It's usually a bit too full for my taste, even though my hunger signals are out of whack and I often feel stuffed and hungry at the same time.  But not empty.

My head certainly isn't empty.  In fact, my head is usually so full with swirling numbers, weights, nutrition facts, counting and recounting and recounting again that it feels ready to burst.

I'm not so depressed that I feel like the future is empty, either.  It's more like the future feels so full of things that are scary and unknown and potentially fattening that I want to curl up and hide.

Part of the problem is that I have been so detached from real life and real people these past few months that I am too full of obsessive, self-centered ED things to make much room for real world things.  Maybe my ED self is too full, and my real self is too empty.  But the ED self has been part of me for so long that I'm not sure how to separate it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Post mini-vacation high

I'm back home after back-to-back flight nightmares and a hellishly boring day at work, but somehow I am still in a good mood.  I don't think I've remained consistently happy for this many days (about three) in a row since...probably last summer?

My weekend was fabulous.  Exactly what I needed.  My friend was the perfect combination of supportive, distracting, and ego-boosting to make me feel NOT worthless and fat.  She also helped with some of my anxieties about school in the fall - namely, that everyone will gawk at how fat I've gotten and hate me forever.

In terms of food, I actually think I did fantastic - if I do say so myself.  K's family is pretty health conscious, but relaxed about it.  They basically eat anything (meaning meat, dessert, fruits/veggies, butter, oil, starches, etc.), but mostly just a lot of wholesome, real, home-cooked food.  We had all of our meals at home, and I definitely ate more liberally at meals than I ever do at home (although I skipped all of my usual snacks...but I do think I made up for it at meals).  Part of it was definitely not wanting to look like the weird anorexic friend who doesn't eat, especially since K and her parents are all aware of my eating disorder.  But part of it was also just me letting go, eating what looked good, and listening to my body more than I have in a long, long time.

It was also the first time in years that I haven't counted calories.  (Another confession: my nutritionist thinks I stopped counting calories weeks ago, but I haven't.  I can't.  I literally cannot NOT matter what, I automatically add everything up in my head and I have no idea how to not do that.  It is as instinctual as breathing.  This is one issue that I KNOW contributes to my disordered thinking and makes me hugely obsessive, but I haven't even really attempted to address it simply because I have no freaking clue how.)

Anyway, I had no way to determine the calories in the foods K's mom prepared.  I also didn't have to judge portion sizes because she always put everything on my plate for me.  Basically, I had zero control over the food and I totally went with it.  I even had dessert twice. Go me.

Now before you think I've fully recovered and mastered intuitive eating in 2 days, I have to admit that I have completely reverted to my usual rigid habits without missing a beat since being home.  It wasn't out of guilty urge to compensate for gorging over the weekend; I didn't overeat at K's house, and my weight has actually inched down since I last weighed myself on Friday before my trip.  I have just slipped back into my typical eating/running routines because that's what I do.  I wouldn't have expected things to go any other way.

But this happiness thing is still lingering.  I didn't even have an internal meltdown when BOTH of my flights got delayed and I didn't get home until midnight.  Maybe my body is still soaking up all that wholesome, K-approved comfort food.  Either way, I feel good and I'm hanging onto it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Weekend Trip

Tomorrow I am flying out to visit a friend from school, and I'm thrilled to say that I am actually excited about something for the first time in a long, long time.  Actually, I'm 90% excited to see her and 10% excited to miss a day of this stupid internship.

This friend, K, was my roommate last fall before I moved back home.  We met freshman year through a mutual friend and since then have become majorly close.  We think alike and we get along pretty perfectly. Basically, we just get each other.

Another thing - she is the most normal, healthy, sane eater I have ever met.  She eats three square meals a day, snacks when she's hungry, has dessert when she feels like it, works out to feel good, etc.  In this way, she baffles me.

K was probably one of the first people to notice my wacky eating habits over the past year.  She never got confrontational about it, but I definitely sensed concern.  (I also think she MAY have mentioned something/possible e-mailed my mom to say she was worried...but I have no proof.  If I ever confirmed that this were true, I would honestly just respect and love her even more.  But again, no proof.  And I don't think I will ever ask her about it because it would just put us both in an uncomfortable position.)

Similarly, I think I started realizing how far gone I was by comparing my eating habits to hers.  Eventually, I just started avoiding her at mealtimes because the differences between us were just to extreme to ignore.  It would have been funny - if not for the whole anorexia thing.

Anyway, rambling finished.  I am ridiculously excited to see her tomorrow, even though it will be a whirlwind trip bookended by plane rides, which I despise.  I'm a little nervous about the food stuff, obviously, but tend to do okay now eating with others.  I fear drawing unwanted attention to myself ALMOST as much as I fear getting fat, so I usually make a point of eating normal(ish) portions and not engage in any blatantly disordered behaviors when I'm with people outside my family.  Total peer pressure, 100%, but I guess it's good for me.

Off to finish (start) packing.

Me, Now

I officially entered treatment for anorexia in December, although I had been dabbling in eating disordered behaviors for at least eight years.  I went through a period of extreme restriction and weight loss at age thirteen when I was very sick and probably should have been hospitalized, but I dodged that bullet.  Mostly because I was too smart and sneaky for my own good, but also because my parents (and I) preferred to avoid drama at all costs.  So, a few weight checks with my mom, a stern talking-to from my pediatrician, and that was pretty much it.  I gained a bit of weight back, problem solved.

Then I had a major relapse this past year as a sophomore in college.  While I had been playing around with restriction again for most of my freshman year, enough alcohol and late-night junk food runs kept me social, sane, and at a decent weight despite a pretty anorexic mindset.  By the end of the following summer, though, I was determined to lose weight and it went downhill from there.  By November 2010, I hit my all-time lowest weight (a little under where I was at age thirteen).  When I came home for Thanksgiving, my mom freaked out and started calling doctors.  I headed back to school to finish out the semester with instructions from her to get through my exams and, basically, not die.

I maintained my weight through Christmas, started seeing a nutritionist and a therapist at home, and headed back to school in January armed with a brand new diagnosis and a massive meal plan.  Within a week, though, I was back to my old workout routine and restricting patterns.  Then the blackouts/dizziness/heart flutters started happening and scared me enough to call my mom.  She convinced me over the phone to see a doctor on campus who did an EKG and bunch of blood tests, freaked out, and just like that I was on a plane back home.

My life since January has been a blur of doctors visits, scales, food, and intense loneliness. I have battled horrible body image, screaming/bitching/crying fights with my parents, and seemingly endless food and weight gain.  In a few short months, I have isolated myself more than I ever thought possible.  Now, faced with the possibility of reemerging into life again, I feel like I might be starting to dig myself out.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Life is This

My life is this: I wake up in my childhood bedroom after (not) sleeping all night.  Wait until I hear my mom leave for work, go downstairs, gulp a cup of coffee, and head out for a run.  Sweat a lot.  Shower, dress, breakfast, jump in the car and speed to work.  I'm still always late.  It was more important to fit the run in.  Not that anyone cares when I show up - I am interning at a nonprofit that clearly has no clue what to do with interns.  So, I sit in my windowless cubicle and stare at my computer screen and debate whether or not to eat my snack.  Then lunch.  Then snack.

I make approximately six trips to the bathroom - partly because I have a freakishly small bladder, partly because I also make six trips to the water fountain, and partly because I can't sit still in my chair for more than twenty minutes at a time.

By four p.m. I'm so bored I want to rip my hair out.  Thirty minutes to go.  At four-thirty on the dot, I bolt.  Speed home, change, head to the gym.  Pound the treadmill, bike, sweat, another quick shower at home, dinner, collapse.  Snap at my mother.  Debate snack.  Eat it.  Collapse.

No, I am not supposed to be working out twice a day, but it is one of the unexpected snags that has cropped up in my recovery.  I've always been active - I played pretty much every sport at some point growing up, and got really into cross country and track during high school.  Since then, I have been a self-proclaimed Runner with a capital R.  I had to stop in December because my doctor scared me about my heart and my bones.  I've only just recently taken it up again (with permission!) in the past couple of months and I'm already hooked.  Totally addicted. I am definitely seeing how it can become a trigger for me, as I think a lot of people with EDs find.

So, the solution would be to stop, right?  Or at least come clean to my parents or my treatment team about how much exercise I'm doing, before it starts eating away at my mind again?  Ha.  Even though I know that I should be easing into exercise, it has been hard to rationalize that when I feel the need to "make up" for the past few months.  (Note: I KNOW this is irrational and disordered and completely unhealthy.  I am not advocating this type of thinking or behavior.  I really wish that I had been able to follow my nutritionist's advice on exercise because I do feel trapped in my routines now and it is definitely a setback I did not anticipate.)

Also, it is hard to justify cutting back the exercise when I am eating plenty and basically maintaining an okay weight.  I am JUST weight-restored...sort of.  Technically, according to my nutritionist, I am still a few pounds below "healthy" BUT I am in my range (albeit scraping the bottom, apparently, and bouncing in and out from week to week) and for now, that's good enough for me.  So it is really hard to convince myself that if I suddenly cut out the running, my weight wouldn't shoot up.

So this is my summer - okay food and weight, sucky job, insane running that keeps me sane - but there's still a whole lot of summer left to go.

New Voice, New Self

I am a 20-year old college student recovering from anorexia.  After being pulled out of school one week into the spring semester of my sophomore year, facing months of isolation and weight gain, I discovered a community of eating disorder bloggers who were writing honestly and eloquently about their own struggles.  Suddenly, I felt a little less lonely.

At a time in my life when I didn't have much to look forward to, I looked forward to reading new blog posts.  I have probably learned as much about recovery from these ladies as I have from my doctor, therapist, and nutritionist combined.  Not the re-feeding/goal weight/calorie type stuff, but the nitty-gritty/everyday/this-sucks-but-quitting-is-not-an-option-trust-me-I've-been-there type stuff.

So, here's mine, and it is absolutely 100% inspired by others.  I'm actually not quite sure what took me so long to start a blog, because writing is definitely my biggest passion and if I could write every day for the rest of my life I would be a very happy person.  This will primarily be a blog about recovery from an eating disorder, as that occupies a huge part of my mind and my life at this point, but it will also be an outlet and hopefully a way to connect to others out there who may also be struggling.  Other blogs have been huge sources of comfort, knowledge, and support for me (although I am too shy to comment so the authors probably don't even know!) and maybe this can be the same for someone else.

I have loved reading other blogs and I am so totally excited and honored to put myself out there with the rest of them.  I am writing to find a voice beyond my eating disorder, beyond all the fears, and beyond the sickness that feels so ingrained I mistake it for my real self.

So, here goes! Hope you like it.